Can Audacity Record VoIP Conversations, or not?

It’s amazing how ridiculously difficult it is to find such a simple task in any program these days.

Audacity apparently cannot:

-Record not only my voice, but my computer’s sound as well.
-Set each track’s recording method (track one: microphone, track two: “What U Hear” / Input)

Correct me if I’m wrong. All I want is to record my voice AND my computer’s audio simultaneously. Why is this incredibly simplistic thing so hard to find?


Yes, I already tried http://n2.nabble.com/how-to-record-a-phone-conversation-td274734.html#a274735 which was entirely useless for Audacity’s “Mixer Toolbar” is absolutely greyed out to me and for some reason my microphone will not work with Audacity, but works with every other program imaginable. Yes, I assigned the microphone as the input device. It should be working, but it’s not.


**All I want to know…**a quick yes or no might do, is if Audacity can record my voice along with my computer’s audio SIMULTANEOUSLY. Is there ANY WAY to do it? Mixcraft can do it, and it’s the stupidest, easiest thing to do in Mixcraft. If there is no option in Audacity, I’d love to know why. Thanks for reading.

Recording Skype calls in a useful manner is far from simple. Do a Skype forum search.

Audacity will not do two things at the same time no matter how you split up the tasks. Recording Skype calls is not simple because in addition to the bi-directional problem, Skype rips control of the sound card away from you when it starts. If you were set up to record Skype before you ran it, you’re not now. Skype needs to do that to sweep out oddball setups that can interfere with its connection.

The two upper versions of Pamela, Business and Professional, will record your voice and the far end on different tracks. You can do this with Total Recorder as well.

http://forum.audacityteam.org/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=12065&start=10&hilit=total+recorder

A typical problem with recording a microphone can be resolved by setting Audacity preferences to 44100, 16-bit, mono instead of stereo.

Not all sound cards support Mix-Out. Some of the newer computers actively prevent you from doing that.

Koz

<<<Audacity can record my voice along with my computer’s audio SIMULTANEOUSLY.>>>

No. Not during a Skype call.

Koz

On a Windows computer, to record sounds playing on the computer AND the microphone requires that Audacity is set up to record from “Stereo Mix”. The trouble is that Skype changes the settings to “Microphone” and switches “Stereo Mix” off.

There are ways to work around this problem, such as using a second sound card, or a virtual sound card, but the easiest way is to use one of the programs that is designed specifically for Skype recording.

BTW have you actually managed to record both sides of a Skype conversation with Mixcraft? (on the same computer as you are using with Audacity and the same version of Skype?) I only ask because from searching Google I can find plenty of people that can’t record Skype with Mixcraft, and you are the first person to suggest that you have done it. So I’m interested to know how. Also, if you can describe exactly how to do it with Mixcraft, then we can probably work out how to make it work with Audacity.

I don’t use Skype, but it would work fine with Skype or anything else. I don’t have Mixcraft but I’m fixing on buying it for that’s the only thing I have found that allows me to do this.

Basically you make two tracks and you arm one for recording by clicking “Arm” to the left of the audio track. To the right of “Arm” should be a little down arrow. If you click this it will reveal a drop down box where you can select the device to record with. Set this to your microphone device.

For the second track it depends on your sound card. Some people have a deal from Creative that says “What U Hear” but mine is just “Realtek HD Audio Input”. So set the recording device for track 2 to “What U Hear” types of input. You may have to go inside your Windows System Mixer and enable or disable “Stereo Mix” for this to work. Test it out by going to Youtube and letting some long video play as you try recording here and there.

And we never tire of reminding people that “Stereo Mix” and “What U Hear” are both tied to the sound card. Get the wrong sound card and either or both of those could be missing.

Some of the newer Windows Laptops have a built-in sound card with both of those missing. In those cases, the only options are Pamela, et. al. which make their own sound drivers, or a USB external sound card.

Koz

But that’s exactly the problem - Skype takes control of the sound card and switches off “Stereo Mix”.

As can be seen in this post ( http://demon.acoustica.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=4823&sid=96447408f3b57d3166da521b104af7cf ) Eric from Acoustica Support thought it would work like that, but you see in the replies that it didn’t.

If you DO get it working, please drop in and let us know how - I for one will be most interested.

BTW, I hear that Total Recorder can record from Skype by using a virtual sound card. (I can’t actually test this myself as Total Recorder does not run on Linux).

Hello everyone!

However I am new to Audacity but the reply to the question seems still not clear in this thread after all these years.

This thread has been open when Windows 7 was in its infancy… Skype improved a lot meanwhile, other free software can record voip calls (e.g VLC) but are not a lot flexible and commercial software are another world.

I have discovered that installing the proper Realtek High Definition Audio Driver (a 100+ Mb package) is one way to allow the user to restore the hidden Stereo Mix once in the Windows Control panel the Audio is being open and with the right click in the empty field of the Recorded Devices you can show (and activate) the hidden/disabled audio devices. In fact sometimes Windows 7 actually disables that option that was quite common and active by default under XP/Vista. Similar should be the ‘fix’ under Windows 8/8.1.


Now once Stereo Mix is active, is Audacity supposedly to be able to record either the system audio and the microphone audio, so actually recording a two-way VoiP conversation when a so-called softphone (e.g X-Lite, 3CX, etc) is being used? Or is different the Audiocity setting/mode for this specific purpose :confused:

Thank you,
Elsa

The answer is the same as it’s always been - you can only record Skype from stereo mix if you find a way to send the mic input to the playback device. You can do it by setting “Listen to this device” for the mic in Windows Sound (in Windows Vista and later), but it is a bad idea, and there are too many limitations and things that can go wrong.

Use an application meant for recording Skype, such as these How to record skype calls on audacity - #2 by Gale_Andrews


Gale

That will only work if the computer sound system is capable of:
a) Recording Stereo Mix
b) “Playing” the microphone through the sound card
c) doing (a) and (b) at the same time without creating feedback or echoes, while Skype is running.
d) that the above can be done without Skype grabbing exclusive access to the sound card.

These abilities are largely a matter of what the sound card drivers do, but it is rare that all of these requirements are met.

Even if all conditions are met, then there is an additional limitation, which is that both ends of the call are recorded together on the same track, so if one voice is recorded louder than the other there is little you can do to fix it.

In comparison, dedicated Skype recording software should work without any unusual driver requirement, and many Skype recorders are able to record one side of the conversation on one side of a stereo track, and the other voice on the other channel, which means that you can adjust the relative levels of the two voices after the recording is completed.

That’s not to say this is absolutely impossible. Just when you get everything settled, along comes Chase and the Reel Life Podcast.

Reel Life Podcast http://reellife.podomatic.com/

He didn’t do anything unusual. No odd software or configurations. He just opened up his computer and Audacity and started recording a full-on bi-directional Skype podcast with his brother in another state and including support music bed, themes, stingers and bumpers.

He’s looking at the rest of us like we’re crazy. “This isn’t hard at all. What’s wrong with you people?” He supersonically lucked out. His whole world happens to be technically compatible with doing his show and none of what he’s doing is applicable to anybody else. This is the down side to following somebody’s YouTube video how to do something. It’s possible nobody else on earth is going to be able to duplicate this person’s success.

I did an experiment where I got most of a full Skype show to work in a repeatable manner, but I did it with two computers. One laptop managed recording the show and playing back the show music and the other laptop managed Skype. There was a mixer in the middle to set levels.

Skype thinks it’s doing a simple conversation, so it doesn’t try to manage modules and drivers, and being two different computers, I didn’t have to worry about dueling control keys. “Let’s see, Skype thinks Control-B is one thing, but that screws up Audacity, and the clip player program doesn’t like that at all.”

Koz

And just to cover it, I record cellphone and land-line calls with a special microphone and Audacity.

That’s an Olympus TP7 and its adapters, but I have a newer TP-8 which doesn’t need the adapter. Plug that into your ear and make the call on top of it. It just plugs right into the Mic-In of any recorder that will have it, and it works with any communications device.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/TP7SoundTest1.wav
http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/TP7SoundTest2.wav

Koz

Gale and Steve,

Thank you for your detailed replies but my question as you can read did not involve the specific use of Skype about which there are several solutions available.

A general softphone is quite different than the support received by Skype. It’s a world itself while 5 years ago at the opening of this thread was the main Voip software.

In fact I wrote: “…so actually recording a two-way VoiP conversation when a so-called softphone (e.g X-Lite, 3CX, etc) is being used” ?

Typically the screen/audio recorders are able to record only one source at time so e.g. omitting the voice from the Voip source unless it provides System audio + Microphone recording features.

Hope my question is clearer now. :confused:

I think we can go with no.

A normal computer can do two sound tasks: Play audio to a listener and record audio from, say, a microphone. VoiP calls use up both of those sound tasks. Audacity has to borrow your microphone sound for recording (third task) and it has to “turn around” the VoiP speaker signal for recording (fourth task).

Only software specifically designed to do jobs like this work right. As further up the thread, some software can design a second soundcard entirely in software and manage both the real and the fake one at the same time. Audacity can’t do that.

It’s amazing how ridiculously difficult it is to find such a simple task in any program these days.

We can put a man on the moon…

Koz

You mentioned Skype yourself as well as a “softphone”. It is usually much clearer to start a new topic than join an old one.

The answer is the same as for Skype. Audacity can only record one source at a time, so the only way to record VOIP with Audacity is as Steve and I already said - send the mic input to the output device then record the output.

You can do that with “Listen to this device” (look at the “Recording” tab of Windows Sound ). Or if you have an expensive computer you may be able to unmute the mic (“Playback” tab of Windows Sound) and send the input to the output that way. That method is preferable because it does not have a delay sending the mic to the output, whereas “Listen” is delayed.

Or you can do it with something like Voicemeeter ( see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6rp9lkiFBU ) and have Audacity record Voicemeeter.

If you prefer to spend money on a dedicated app, you could try http://www.voiceemotion.com/. Let us know how you get on if you try that.

Gale